Today Current Affairs 28th February 2017

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Manchester United on 26 February 2017 defeated Southampton 3-2 to grab the e 2016–17 EFL Cup. The final match was played in London, United Kingdom. Manchester United’s star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice, including an 87th-minute winner, to lock the win of the club. It is fifth League Cup for the Manchester United. Manchester United : Manchester United Football Club is a professional football club.It is based in Old Trafford, Greater Manchester, England. The club competes in the Premier League, the top flight of English football. The club is nicknamed as "the Red Devils." The club was founded as Newton Heath LYR Football Club in 1878. In 1902, its name was changed to Manchester United. The club has won a record 20 League Titles, a joint-record 12 FA Cups, five League Cups and a record 21 FA Community Shields. It has also won three European Cups, one UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, one UEFA Super Cup, one Intercontinental Cup and one FIFA Club World Cup. In 1998–99, it became the first football club in the history of English football to achieve the treble of the Premier League, the FA Cup and the UEFA Champions League. For 2015-16, the club was the highest-earning football club in the world, with annual revenue of 689 million euro. EFL Cup : The EFL Cup is also known as the League Cup. It is an annual knockout football competition in men's domestic English football. It is organised by the English Football League (EFL). The competition is open to any club within the top four levels of the English football league system. The competition was first held in 1960–61 as the Football League Cup. It is one of the three top domestic football competitions in England, alongside the Premier League and FA Cup.Manchester City was the winner of the 2016 League Cup.

Chinese multinational telecommunications equipment company ZTE made an announcement that it has launched a next generation 5G IT baseband unit (BBU). The announcement was made at the  Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona on 26 February 2017. ZTE has partnered with Intel Corporation for this technology. The architecture of this technology has been provided by Intel. This is the world’s first software-defined network (SDN) or network function virtualisation (NFV) 5G radio access network (RAN) solution. This IT BBU is compatible with all 2G, 3G and 4G platform. It also supports cloud-radio access networks (C-RAN) and distributed-RAN (D-RAN). These technologically advance feature makes a space for future development. Due to the highly advanced algorithms and mechanisms used in the system, the energy consumption will also be reduced. The Chinese smartphone giant ZTE also unveiled first Gigabit phone at MWC which is capable of achieving download speeds of up to 1 Gbps.

India’s most famous international actors Kabir Bedi was appointed as the honourary brand ambassador of Sightsavers India to prevent avoidable blindness by RN Mohanty, CEO of Sightsavers on February 17, 2017 Kabirs’s association would help the organisation towards a focused journey with amplified impact in the coming days.

Birender Singh Yadav has been concurrently accredited as the Ambassador of India to the Republic of Togo, with residence in Accra (Ghana). Yadav is presently working as the High Commissioner of India to the Republic of Ghana

Indian international cricketer Virat Kohli has named as the ‘Captain of the Year‘ at the 10th annual ESPNcricinfo Awards. Kohli led India to nine wins out of 12 Tests in the year 2016. Captain of the Year    Virat Kohli Test Batting Performance of the Year :     Ben Stokes Test Bowling Performance of the Year award : Stuart Broad ODI Batting Performance of the Year : Quinton de Kock ODI Bowling Performance of the Year award     : Sunil Narine T20 Batting Performance of the Year award     : Carlos Brathwaite T20 Bowling Performance of the Year award : Mustafizur Rahman Batting Performance of the Year award :  Hayley Williams Bowling Performance of the Year award : Leigh Kasperek ESPNcricinfo awards : The ESPNcricinfo awards honour the best batting and bowling performances across the international formats of the game in the preceding calendar year. This year ESPNcricinfo introduced awards for women’s cricket across all three international formats.  

 Leading E-Commerce firm, Paytm launched its new application on Android under the name Paytm Mall and a website called on February 27, 2017. The Paytm Mall app aims to offer a combination of the Mall and Bazaar concepts to Indian consumers for online shopping. Paytm Mall will focus on structured categories and brand authorised stores. It will also be focusing on electronics, top fashion brands and FMCG categories. Paytm Mall would also have a section called Paytm ‘Bazaar’ that will focus on fashion, home furnishing and goods from small sellers. Paytm Mall will feature 68 million products across categories such as fashion, electronics, consumer durables and home furnishings from about 140,000 sellers. Only trusted sellers passing strict quality guidelines and qualification criteria will be allowed on the ‘Mall’. Paytm Mall is an One97 Communications entity in which Alibaba will own more than 40 percent stake and making way for direct entry into the local online retail market.

An expert committee set up by SIDBI, Venture Capital Investment Committee (VCIC) has sanctioned Rs 300 crore to fund managers who would invest in startups, thus taking the total sanctions in 2016-17 to over Rs 1,100 crore. In its 7th meeting on the February 11, VCIC examined requests from 11 fund managers and cleared sanction requests from 9 Funds aggregating Rs 300 crores. SIDBI’s VCIC comprises of former Infosys CFO Mohandas Pai, former Nasscom chief Kiran Karnik, Indian Angel Network Founder Saurabh Srivastava, Founder ofInfo EdgeSanjeev Bikhchandani, among others.. During fiscal year 2014-15 sanctions were made to 11 funds (Rs 314 crores) while in 2015-16 sanctions were made to 16 funds (Rs 607 crores). During the current financial year, till date Rs 1,112 crores has already been sanctioned to 30 funds  

The 2017 Mobile World Congress (MWC) began in Mobile World Capital Barcelona on February 27, 2017 and will conclude on March 2, 2017. MWC is the world’s largest gathering for the mobile industry, organised by the GSMA.  The global tech industry gathers to get participate in new smartphone launches, VR and AR developments, chipsets and wearables. The GSMA Mobile World Congress is a combination of the world’s largest exhibition for the mobile industry and a conference featuring prominent executives representing mobile operators, device manufacturers, technology providers, vendors and content owners from across the world. Some of the leading industry participating in the event includes BlackBerry, Motorola, Google, Nokia, HTC, Huawei, LG, Samsung, Sony, ZTE among others. During the event, Nokia re-introduced the iconic Nokia 3310 handset in a new design along with the Snake game at the Mobile World Congress (MWC). Besides, it also re-launched Nokia 5 and 3.

According to the recent data, infant mortality rate in the country has been registered at 42 deaths of kids per 1000 births while Puducherry was having 11 deaths of children per 1000 babies born said by Director of Health and Family Welfare Services K V Raman on February 27, 2017. Top 3 states : Goa ranked first, followed by Kerala and Puducherry Puducherry government hospitals had necessary infrastructures to address the health issues of young children including cardiac surgeries. The that Union Territory is operating a Medical Relief Society through which assistance was also available to patients to get specialist treatment for critical ailments.

Minister for Information & Broadcasting M Venkaiah Naidu and Member of the Parliament of Ukraine and Chairman of the National Council of Television and Radio Broadcasting of Ukraine Mr. Iurii Artemenko have agreed to strengthen the bilateral cooperation between the two countries through the medium of Cinema in New Delhi on February 27, 2017 The cooperation would be helpful to showcase films through the medium of Film Festivals and utilizing the Film Facilitation Office platform established by India. The possibility of translating programs and content and providing subtitles in respectivelanguages of both the countries was also discussed with respect to the Public Broadcasters of both the countries.  

Indian badminton player Saina Nehwal was appointed as a member of the International Olympic Committee's(IOC) Athletes' Commission (AC) in 2016, will represent the panel in the Badminton World Federation (BWF). Saina would join the Badminton World Federation (BWF) Athletes' Commission as a representative of the IOC AC.  Currently, ranked world number 10 in BWF rankings, Saina is now aiming to win the prestigious All England Championship in March 2017.

Rio Olympian Thanackal Gopi won the men's title in the second edition of the IDBI Federal Life Insurance New Delhi Marathon held on 26 February 2017.  Monika Athare claimed the honors in the women's section.  In Men's full marathon, Gopi clocked 2 hours, 15 minutes and 37 seconds to win the race in his first appearance in the event.  Gopi, who is from Army Sports Institute in Pune, has already qualified for the World Athletics Championships to be held in London in August. In women's full marathon, Monika Athare from Nashik completed the race in 2 hours, 39 minutes and 08 seconds, to bag her maiden title at this distance.  She also qualified for the World Championships breaching the entry standard. Athare was followed by Jyoti Gawate in the second position, while Ranjan Kumari finish third.

European Union member states have approved visa-free travel for Georgia.  The proposal now requires formal signature by the 28 member states of EU and the European Parliament.  The permission was granted after agreeing safeguards to prevent any upsurge in arrivals from the former Soviet satellite.  Under the accord, Georgian citizens will be able to travel visa-free for 90 days in the EU during any 180-day period. The accord does not apply to the United Kingdom or Ireland.

Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization (AEOI) has announced that Russia and Iran have reached an agreement to jointly produce nuclear fuel.  The preliminary agreement with Russia on the joint production of nuclear fuel was reached during the nuclear negotiations between Iran and P5+1 nations (major world powers) in 2015.   Iran has developed roadmap for the joint production, which will take two years to be implemented. Besides, it will buy 950 tonnes of uranium from Kazakhstan.  This purchase is part of Iran’s international nuclear deal known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between Iran and P5+1 nations.

The Union Urban Development Ministry has formulated ‘National Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Policy’ to address the challenges of urbanisation. The policy framework aims to promote living close to mass urban transit corridors like the Metros, monorail and bus rapid transit (BRT) corridors. Under the new Metro policy, TOD has been made mandatory and also an essential reform under the green urban mobility scheme and given priority for receiving central assistance.  The Union Government already has notified the TOD policy in early 2015, however, there was no clarity on the process for management of open spaces, various sanctions, parking space, water requirement, etc.  Under it, States/UTs are required to incorporate TOD in their master plans and development plans of cities besides identifying ‘influence zones’ from transit corridors for tapping revenue streams. The central TOD policy will help the states to develop an in-depth understanding of the symptoms and causes of the challenges currently faced by Indian cities.  Besides, urban design and planning in the form of TOD, is being incentivised by the ministry under two more initiatives viz.,  Metro policy and green urban mobility scheme. Development or redevelopment in TOD zone will be incentivised by providing significantly higher floor area ratio (FAR).  It will enable vertical construction that is required to address shortage of land availability. It also promotes integration of land use planning with transportation and infrastructure development to avoid long distance travel in cities through compact development.  The policy will be financed by channelising a part of increases in property values resulting from investments in transit corridors through betterment levies and value capture financing tools. Increased private sector participation will result in economic development and employment generation.

Two new critically endangered balsams (impatiens) plant species were spotted on the peripheries of the Eravikulam National Park in Kerala. It is a major breakthrough in eco-conservation. Impatiens plants are also called jewel weeds. They are seen in pristine forests where moisture content and relative humidity are high. The new species of balsams (impatiens) Impatiens Mankulamensis and Impatiens panduranganii were discovered from the shola forests on the periphery of the park and Mankulam forests. Impatiens panduranganii was first noticed in 2015 during a research on impatiens in the Pettimudi area. It is similar to Impatiens travancorica. These plants normally bear flowers in the rainy (Monsoon) season of July to October. Their flowers are white in colour with a pink border. They have been ncluded in the critically endangered category of IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature).

Retired IAS officer Khursheed A Ganai was appointed as the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) of Jammu and Kashmir on 27 February 2017. His appointment will take effect from the date he assumes charge of the post. Ganai’s appointment to the post was approved by the State Governor NN Vohra in the exercise of the powers vested in him under Section 12(3) of the Jammu and Kashmir Right to Information Act, 2009 (Act No. VIII of 2009). His name was recommended to the governor on 21 February 2017 by a selection panel headed by the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. Other members of the panel were former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh. Ganai succeeds GR Sufi, who retired as CIC of the state on 29 February 2016. The state’s information commission had been non-functional since November 2016 after the retirement of its two information commissioners. The two Information Commissioner were Dr SK Sharma and Nazir Ahmed and they retired from the office in October 2015 and November 2016, respectively The State’s Information Commission was set up by the state government under the provisions of Jammu and Kashmir Right to Information Act, 2009. The commission was established in February 2011 as a three-member commission. Khursheed A Ganai : He in an IAS officer of 1982 batch.  In February 2016, he was appointed as Advisor to State Governor when Governor Rule was imposed in the state following the death of then Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. Earlier, Ganai has held several positions in the state as well as the central bureaucracy like home affairs and Information & Broadcasting.